Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soldiers SR-59 Vexillarius - Update 2

I completed the face last night. Having said that I might make a few tweeks here and there as the figure progresses but I am happy with the results. When you are looking at the photo all blown up, remember we are talking 54mm here so all in all a decent result.

I have also started the trousers. Off-white is the direction I am headed here. so this is a good start. More to follow.......

Romeo 54-035 Teutonic Knight mid XIII Cent.

So here is the figure that goes with my little groundwork demo piece. This is a Knight of the Teutonic Order, mid 13th Century. The kit is a 54mm Romeo casting and once complete, will be resting on his shield and holding a lance. These first few photos show fitment testing as the painting began on the base. As you can see I masked the mail areas and used my usual white automotive primer.

Painting began with the face as always. Typical mix and technique. Once done I used a bit of lacquer thinner to clean the paint from the mail before it dried and began to apply.............

................washes of Mars Black to the mail to begin pulling out the detail. The mail here is not as diminutive as I am used to with some figures so I'm not getting the strong crisp details that I am used to. My plan is to use a thicker coat of Mars Black rubbed into the deeper shadow areas to further darken and delineate the mail. A brush dipped in thinner and drawn over the higher details after the black sits for awhile will pull the natural metal highlights back out. That will be for a later post.

Shadows were applied to the face and Burnt Sienna/Titanium White oils used to paint the lining around the opening of the mail as well as the horizontal lacing around the upper head. This is really nothing more than a base coat as their is visible lacing detail that will need to be carefully picked out with various colors once the face and mail are complete.

Here you can see that I have begun the shoes as well as the initial work on the white tunic. The base color is a mix of Titanium White, Raw Umber and a hint of Lamp Black. Over this I worked a few mid level highlights wet-on-wet, applied a thinned capillary wash of Mars Black around belts and laces to pop out the detail and set aside to dry. The shoes are Burnt Umber with a bit of Mars Brown added for warmth and after drying, initial washes of Mars Black. Worn edges and further highlighting have not yet been completed. I will paint the straps and spurs while the figure is on the working base but final highlights may well be left until the figure is mounted to the groundwork so that I can unify the colors.

These last three pictures are the finished face. Leather and mail remain unfinished and I may well work a bit more on the color of the moustache. If the lights had been lowered you would see that yes, there are eyes under there somewhere!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Soldiers SR-59 Vexillarius of Constantine The Great - Update 1

I have been working on this figure off and on over the past two weeks, trying to formalize the color palette in my mind. There will be various reds involved and each one needs to be a separate tone, richness and warmth. I've started the face as can be seen in the two photos below. Usual mixture of oils involved, nothing new. The first photo is basic flesh mixture with first highlights completed wet-on-wet. The second photo is with the shadows roughed in.

I have also been painting the shoes and groundwork. The groundwork was done with washes of Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, Mars Black and Greenish Umber. I will start working some highlight tones in as I begin to paint his trousers (White/Off-White).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Painting Groundwork With Oils

I know that in the past I have always treated the groundwork step-by-step as part of the overall figure, making references to my methods as I go. I thought it might be nice to separate the groundwork out as a specific focus for an article. This would give me the chance to solidify my techniques.

This is a simple groundwork base for a single 54mm figure. I utilized a Walnut base, an Armand Bayardi resin tree stump, epoxy putty, static grass, dirt and White Birch seeds from my front yard (basically the same thing you get in a Hudson & Allen bag but I get them for free every two years.).

I shape the groundwork in it's basic form using the epoxy putty, after placing the stump in it's desired location. I use a few pieces of broken balsa wood to work a stone like texture in the putty. Balsa snaps unevenly and gives a nice varied tool surface for this task. The figure's feet are weted with water and pressed into location, lifted and the base is set aside to dry. Once cured the base is coated with thinned wood glue (I use one that dries waterproof to withstand the washes of color I use). Over the glue I apply light varied sand sparsely and then the static grass in patches. Later I glued down some of the seeds to resemble fallen leaves. Once everything was dry I masked the base and sprayed everything in white automotive primer.

The pictures above show the groundwork after two initial wash coats of Burnt Umber Oil Paints. I applied the wash to everything to unify the tonal values. As you will see in the following pictures the colors separate down the line in the process. I do apply the color heavier in some areas than others to pop out details (See how the leaves are lighter than the tree trunk above?).

In the photo above I applied a wash of Greenish Umber and Chrome Green Deep to the grassy areas. This was allowed to dry and an overall wash of Greenish Umber and Burnt Umber was applied to blend the two (below).

I used touches of Cad Yellow Medium, Cad Red Light, Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna to paint the leaves. This mix was thinned like a glaze (not as thin as a wash). Once dry a further wash of Burnt Umber was applied in certain areas to further define the ground, tone down the leaves and shadow where the figure will be standing.

Burnt Umber, Mars Black and Titanium White were mixed in various shades of grayish brown and applied to pop out the tree bark and lighten the exposed tree trunk where it has split. This mix was yellowed out a bit with Ochre and used to brighten the grass and the edges of the leaves.

Now the base is ready to accept the figure once he is completed. This will be shown in a few upcoming posts. Stay tuned and Keep Painting!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Soldiers SR-59 Vexillarius of Constantine The Great

Well as if on cue, the weather has begun to change. One day it is in the 80's and sunny, the next it is in the 60's and wet. I never like it when it changes this quickly but it does signal the time to start focusing more time at the workbench and less time on the bike. I'll still have another month or so before I'm forced to completely give up but in the meantime it has given me a chance to start planning the winter projects.

I am back on my other earlier projects but I couldn't help starting something new as well. This fine figure from Soldiers is a very nice Vexillarius carrying the "Labarum" of Constantine the Great, early fourth century AD. Story has it that on the eve of the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine had a dream that led him to convert to Christianity. The reality is more along the lines of his conversion happening on his deathbed but the story remains and this standard is the documented item carried to battle against the Emperor Maxentius. To many this figure may seem familiar. You would not be mistaken in thinking this as the body is for the most part the same exact figure as my previous Soldiers kit from this time period (SR50). Enough is different however to make this an acceptable use of a previous kit by Soldiers in my opinion.

As you can see in the pictures below, I have assembled the kit almost entirely except for the cloak. This will allow me to paint the piece unimpeded and attach the cloak later as I did with the earlier kit. Groundwork is the usual A+B putty with sheet plastic backing on a very nice Ken Thomas round rosewood base. I will apply some plant life, mask the armor and prime prior to beginning the paint.

To give an idea of the direction this piece will go, I have included a photo of the kit box art as reference. The standard will most likely be copied as seen in the photo but I will play with the clothing colors a tad as I proceed. I have read conflicting descriptions of the labarum but I would expect my interpretation to be very similar.